Southampton are set to secure the signing of Stade Brestois midfielder Ibrahima Diallo for a fee of around £12m.
According to multiple sources including the Athletic’s Dan Sheldon, BBC Radio Solent’s Adam Blackmore and talkSPORT’s Alex Crook, Saints have agreed a deal and Diallo will have a medical over the weekend.
With these reporters also confirming that the likes of Monaco, Everton and Leicester are also interested in the 21-year-old, this deal can be considered as a coup for Saints.
Their pursuit of a new midfielder has been well documented this summer and they will be pleased to finally confirm an addition to Ralph Hasenhuttl’s squad after missing out on Ibrahim Sangare recently.
Despite being young, Diallo has a good amount of senior experience to his name to help him adjust to the rigours of the English Premier League.
In all, he has made 53 appearances for Brest’s senior side, including 24 games in Ligue 1 and 23 in Ligue 2.
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Via fbref.com, we can see that he has the potential to fit into Saints’ system. He ranks highly in Ligue 1 listings in tackles won and pressures whilst also boasting an 87% passing rate during the 2019/20 season.
Stats from the same source suggest that Diallo may take a while to fully adjust to his new role though.
Whilst Saints press at some of the highest rates in the Premier League, Brest play in a more reserved way and Diallo’s role will have been more about distribution of the ball rather than winning the ball back.
The fact that he is the player being brought in means that the club see him fitting perfectly into their setup though.
Looking at his international achievements to date also shows that he is seen as a future prospect for the France national team.
He has played five times for the France Under-20 side and has progressed to this level after also featuring for the Under-18s and Under-19s.
Given his age, it is important that he is allowed time to learn Saints’ style of play – much like Mohammed Salisu will need when he makes his first appearances.